The Quiet Hero
By Scott Taylor
By his own admission, Ken Ploen still thinks its strange
that a kid from Clinton, Iowa would grow up to win four Grey
Cup championships and then have somebody write a book about
would have ever thought a kid from Clinton would ever have
a book written about his life, Ploen, 76, said the other
day. I know I didn't.
being modest. For those Winnipeggers who know Ken Ploen, and
that list is extremely long, what would be most surprising
is that it actually took this long to write a book about the
life of one of Canadas great athletes.
all, Ploen was the quarterback of the Blue Bombers when the
Blue Bombers were the most dominant team in the Canadian Football
League. It was the greatest decade in Bomber history.
left football, Ploen became a fixture on Blue Bombers broadcasts,
did loads of TV, radio and print advertisements and is still
the voice of Abalon Construction on radio today.
is famous. Hes one of the greatest athletes in the history
of our province. Hes in the Manitoba Sports Hall of
Fame and the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. TSNs viewers
voted him the greatest CFL player of the 1960s.
the book about his life and times wont be released until
July 1, 2011.
I was lucky, says Ploen with the aw-shucks response
of a kid from small-town Iowa. I came to Winnipeg and
played on some of the best teams with the teammates a football
player could ever want. Dont forget, I was just part
of a team. And it was a great team.
story is one of the most dramatic in the annals of all sports.
It really would make for a great movie.
a young quarterback from Clinton, Iowa who had just led the
University of Iowa Hawkeyes to the Rose Bowl championship,
decided he had no interest in playing for the NFLs Cleveland
Browns and, instead, signed a huge contract in
Canada, with the Western Interprovincial Football Unions
Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
me, Winnipeg was a great opportunity, Ploen said. I
got drafted in the 19th round of the NFL draft by the Cleveland
Browns as a defensive back. Milt Plum was the quarterback
in Cleveland at the time and they were happy with him. I talked
with Cleveland and they didnt want me as a quarterback,
they wanted me as a defensive back. They offered me a $500
signing bonus and a $5,000 contract, which, back then wasnt
up here in Winnipeg and they offered me a $3,000 signing bonus
and a $9,000 contract and an opportunity to play quarterback.
They also told me that the hunting and fishing was pretty
good up here and they also told me you could work on the side.
I came up here with a better signing bonus, a better contract,
an opportunity to play quarterback and a job with Martin Paper
Products as an industrial engineer with my engineering background.
Oh yeah, and the Canadian dollar was at a 6.5 per cent premium
back then. You kind of roll all those things into one and
it was not a very tough decision.
received his signing bonus, young Ken gave the money to his
dad was operating the Y Motel in Fulton, Ill., and it needed
some work so I gave it to my mom and dad to put into the business,
said Ken. My dad was a jack of all trades. He quit the
Dupont plant because he got tired of working shift work, so
he went across the (Mississippi) river to Fulton, Ill., and
took over a motel. He ran that motel for quite a few years.
coach in Winnipeg, a fellow named Harry Peter (Bud) Grant,
was in his second year at the helm and yet he was only 30
years old. He loved what Ploens Iowa coach Forest Evashvski
had done with the Hawkeyes and decided he was going to run
Evys Wing-T offence as well. To do it properly,
he knew he needed Iowas gifted 21-year-old quarterback.
a match made in heaven. The quarterback, Ken Ploen, loved
to hunt and fish as well as play football and the coach, Bud
Grant, would rather hunt and fish than play football. So the
former Bomber receiver-turned head coach headed down to Brainerd,
Minn., where Ploen and his family were fishing, and convinced
the young quarterback to sign in Canada.
next 10 years, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers dominated Canadian
football. The team went to six Grey Cups and won four of them.
And while Ploen wasnt always the quarterback, he was
the Canadian games best player. He was an all-star on
defence, a kicker, a punter and even a kick returner. As the
Bombers became the most feared team in the CFL, Ploen became
its greatest all-around player.
Ploen was a leader, said his former teammate and still
good friend, Henry Janzen. He wasnt a leader because
he talked or yelled, he was a leader because everyone respected
him. When we went into the huddle there wasnt a sound
because everyone on the team was confident that the plays
he called would work. He got tremendous respect from his teammates
because we all knew he was our leader.
his career, Ploen would not take credit for his teams
successes. Even today, Ploens personal glory always
takes a back seat to the contributions that were made by his
ask Ploen about any situation or any great play, hell
do one of the following things: 1) credit coach Bud Grants
strategy; 2) credit the offensive line for its wall of blockers
3) call it the result of a great run or a great catch or a
great tackle or 4) say that it was a brilliant substitution
for an injured player that made the difference.
it was often all of these things, but without Ploen's cool
leadership and his ability to make plays (from just about
any position), its unlikely things would have turned out as
well as they did.
was knocked out of the Bombers quarterbacking position
after six games in 1958. Trainer Gordie Mackie trussed
up Ploens bad shoulder and he went back out and
played halfback, slotback and safety.
the 58 Grey Cup he faked a pass and ran through three
Hamilton defenders to the Tiger-Cats one-yard line to set
up the winning touchdown. Then later in the game, while playing
defensive back, he picked off Bernie Faloneys the last
gasp pass to preserve the victory and end the game.
1959 he played safety and halfback all year and not only tied
a Canadian football record, but also set a Bomber record for
interceptions in a season.
the 1959 Grey Cup rolled around, he was asked to play quarterback
again. Jim Van Pelt was injured and after a season as a halfback
and safety, Ploen went out and played superbly. He played
an entire game of ball control until the very end when he
caught the Tiger-Cats off-guard and threw two bombs late in
the fourth quarter to put the game away.
the 1961 Grey Cup, he played possibly his finest game at quarterback
and won the game with a dazzling touchdown run in overtime.
1962, he started the Grey Cup, but was injured late in the
first half and shared duties with Hal Ledyard, who played
the third quarter. Of course, he still played defensive back
throughout the game. Ploen started the scoring spree by rolling
out on a bootleg and running 41 yards for a touchdown. Then,
at the end of the game (Day 2 of the famous Fog Bowl) with
the score 28-27 in favor of the Bombers, Ploen was a punt
returner who ran out the last punt to safety at his own two-yard
line and preserved the victory.
a quarterback, Ken Ploen called all of his own plays for his
entire career, He would take suggestions from head coach Bud
Grant, but in the end, every offensive play called during
the Ken Ploen Era was Ken Ploens responsibility. And
four Grey Cup victories would suggest he was responsible.
Ken Ploens remarkable ability to play almost any position
and make a legitimate difference in each of the four Grey
Cup victories, the Blue Bombers could not possibly have won
all of them. The only athlete to match his multi-dimensional
play was Edmontons Jackie Parker and he won only three
was truly a one-of-a-kind football player and his versatility
and skill have not been seen since the day of his retirement.
The Quiet Hero: The Ken Ploen Story written by
Roy Rosmus and Scott Taylor and published by Roslor Publishing
will be released July 1, 2011, and will be available exclusively
at the Bomber Store and through the Winnipeg Football Club).
more in the June
14 - July 11/2011 issue of Senior Scope)
February 2011, the RCMP in Manitoba has received a number
of complaints involving fraudulent telephone solicitations
for anti-virus software. In this scheme, company representatives
cold call individuals and tell them that their computer system
is running slow or has viruses. An offer is made to repair
the computer remotely over the internet by installing certain
software and giving the caller access. Payment is made by
credit card and prices range from $35 to $469.
a stranger to download software or remotely access your computer
is risky. Malicious software designed to capture your personal
information including, web sites visited, sensitive documents,
and passwords puts you at risk of financial loss and identity
warning signs of this type of scam include:
calls representing a computer repair company or imitating
your local Internet service provider
caller states there is an urgent need to address threats to
directed to download software and provide your username and
password for this new download
asked to provide your credit card number to pay for the service
receive a call which resembles the anti-virus scam please
advise your local police service and contact the
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
at 888-495-8501 or
Commercial Crime Section
more in the June
14 - July 11/2011 issue of Senior Scope)
What is Natural
or Green burial?
an environmentally friendly method of interring a deceased
person in the soil so as to not inhibit decomposition and
to ensure the body recycles naturally. It is seen as an alternative
to contemporary methods we use today.
Where does the
idea come from?
movement was founded in the UK in 1993 in the City of Carlisle
and was called simply Woodland Burial but if we
look back and consider how people were buried in the past
using, hand dug graves, softwood caskets and no embalming,
and then some say we find the origins of green burial.
burial can now be found in the southern US and a new site
was opened on Vancouver Island in 2010.
Cremation is not
cannot be considered green due to the emissions it produces
(Emissions in Europe and especially the UK are highly monitored)
and the use of non-renewable energy sources to maintain the
furnace at a temperate of 800 - 1000 degrees Celsius. It is
anticipated cremation could be phased out in parts of Europe
due to the high cost of fuel to facilitate the cremation.
remains are mostly dry calcium phosphates with some minor
minerals, such as salts of sodium and potassium. Sulphur and
most carbon are driven off as oxidized gases during the process,
although a relatively small amount of carbon as carbonate
may remain. The scattering of cremated remains causes damage
to soil and plant life and hinders growth leaving mostly moss
and lichens to survive.
What makes a Green/Natural
the following contribute to making a burial green. A green
interment site would offer a mixture or all of the following:
100% No embalming of the body
Use of only bio degradable caskets or shrouds/body wraps such
as those made from cardboard, 100% cotton, silk, jute, timber
softwood with no metals and glued with natural products or
Shallow burial with a 2ft depth of soil covering; currently
the Public Health Act requires 3ft. Deep burials have anaerobic
conditions through lack of oxygen and especially in clay;
this slows the decomposition of the body and has a possibility
to create methane. Green burial requires a much faster decomposition
of the body.
On line memorials as standard memorials would not be permitted
in the burial area unless they are biodegradable.
Use of GPS in order to find the site in the future.
Manual digging of the grave
being green in the burial isnt where we could stop if
we want to consider the whole picture we must factor in the
visitation trips returning to the cemetery regularly, the
flowers and where they are shipped from, the use of multiple
vehicles travelling to the funeral, the equipment driven in
the cemetery for maintenance etc etc. All of these things
contribute to making the interment and funeral less green.
What is on offer
here in Winnipeg?
Cemeteries By-law permits the use of all forms of body wraps
i.e. Hardboard/paper caskets, shroud, wooden boxes or caskets.
We offer flat marker lots where the client has a choice
of not placing a memorial.
What could we
expect here in Winnipeg?
of a prairie landscape open field area with prairie grasses
handed to families/NOK to sprinkle on the interment site or
the planting of a tree to create managed woodland.
What is the City
going to do?
we consider establishing a site the City will need to consult
with the public to establish how large of a request there
is for green burial. Then we have to be realistic about how
green we could operate; in the past before the backhoe was
used to dig, interments were postponed until the ground was
thawed and able to be dug by hand with the body being stored
over the winter. Not really an option today so we have to
investigate what other methods we may be able to use.
Will it be cheaper?
price depends on many factors including the cost of establishing
a green area and what methods of operation are going to be
Some other green
Ltd was formed in Scotland in early 2007 to promote Resomation
as a real alternative to burial and cremation. At a time when
public awareness of carbon emissions and environmental responsibility
is ever on the increase, the opportunity arose to offer people
another choice of disposition
is a process that uses water and alkali rather than high heat
to quickly decompose a body.
enclosed in a silk coffin, is placed in a steel chamber along
with potassium hydroxide at a pressure of 10 bar. The temperature
is set at 180 °C which is 80% cooler than a standard crematorium.
pressure and the temperature dissolve the body in two to three
hours, leaving just bones to be crushed in a similar fashion
to cremation and placed in an urn. As with ecological burial,
dental amalgam can be easily separated from the ash.
casket is still used for the funeral ceremony; the sealed
silk coffin which is resomated with the body is placed inside.
has a much lower carbon footprint than cremation and uses
an eighth of the energy.
is more expensive than cremation, with only a few resomators
in operation; while resomation is gaining popularity in Europe
and the U.S.
Composting (Sweden) or Promession
is an ecologically- conscious method for disposing of human
remains by freeze drying. It was invented and patented in
1999 by the Swedish biologist Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak. Promession
is different from all other alternative burial methods because
it is a gentle and clean process which uses vibration to reduce
the body remains.
is derived from the Italian word for "promise" (promessa),
Promessa's promise being the good environmental management
of the Earth.
is frozen to minus 18 degrees Celsius and is lowered in its
coffin into liquid nitrogen which makes the body very brittle.
The body and coffin are then exposed to a light vibration
which causes them to disintegrate into organic powder. A vacuum
chamber is used to evaporate water from the powder, and mercury
and other metals are separated and removed using a magnetic
field. The remaining 25-30 kg of powder is then put into a
coffin made of corn starch.
is no hurry with the burial itself as the powder, which is
hygienic and odorless, does not decompose when kept dry.
takes place in the upper mulch-forming layers of the soil
where microorganisms turn the coffin and its contents into
compost in about 6-12 months.
the remains do not cause any impact on the environment, it
should be possible for gravesites to be located on family
property or other places with emotional ties to the deceased
and next of kin.
more in the June
14 - July 11/2011 issue of Senior Scope)
your cake and eat it too
your pension and care for your loved ones
G. KONRAD CFP, Financial Consultant
comes to making important decisions, everyone likes to have
especially true as one nears retirement and the time to choose
the pension option thats most appropriate for you and
your family is quickly approaching.
will the decision you face have wide ranging repercussions
as it will determine the income youll receive for the
rest of your life as well any survivors benefit
but it is irrevocable.
plans provide a benefit to the retired plan member that continues
to the surviving spouse for life (normally as a reduced amount)
once the retiree passes away. This is commonly referred to
as a joint life pension. Most plans, however,
offer retirees a number of additional payment options, one
of which is a single life pension. These do not
pay a pension to the surviving spouse. Since single life pensions
pay benefits over just one lifetime, the monthly payments
to the pensioner are higher than if the pension is guaranteed
for two lifetimes. However, because single life pensions provide
an income for just one person, they effectively disinherit
the pensioners spouse in the event of the pensioners
most plan members with spouses arent willing to accept
that risk, the single life pension isnt really an option.
Instead, most individuals opt to build in a risk management
component by selecting a joint life pension. That is, they
accept a smaller income in exchange for the certainty of knowing
their spouse will receive an income in the event of their
death. The premium they agree to pay for this
certainty, therefore, is a reduced monthly pension.
a smaller income appears to be the only choice for most people
approaching retirement. Further, some plans literally prohibit
married retirees from choosing a single life pensionthey
offer them only one choice, the joint life pension.
planning, however, you may be able to opt for the larger benefit
that comes with a single life pension while resting assured
knowing your spouse will enjoy a comfortable lifestyle in
the event of your death. The right life insurance policy,
purchased at the appropriate time, can provide the best of
this pension maximization concept work? Its
quite simple. Upon the death of the pensioner, proceeds from
their life insurance policy are invested to provide an ongoing
income for his or her spouse. Its the knowledge that
cash is certain to be made available to provide income for
the surviving spouse that allows a pensioner to choose a single
life pension. This income may exceed the survivors pension
that would have been available to them through a joint life
there could be some capital remaining upon the death of the
surviving spouse to share with loved ones or to form part
of their charitable legacy.
the pensioners spouse die first, the pensioner still
retains complete control of the insurance policy. The pensioner
may choose to cancel the policy or designate other beneficiaries.
not necessarily need to purchase additional life insurance
coverage to implement this strategy. The coverage you bought
once upon a time to serve another purpose could be used to
maximize your pension. If your existing coverage is term insurance,
however, it may be necessary to convert it to some form of
is the ideal time to consider pension maximization? One things
for certain if you wait until youre within a few
years of retirement, itll probably be too late. The
ideal time to implement the strategy is at least 20 years
from retirement, as thats typically when its most
the costs of certainty
the choice between a single life pension and one that provides
a survivors benefit, most people opt for the latter.
As we see in the illustration below, however, choosing the
selfless option often forces retirees to accept a smaller
is based on a hypothetical, 45-year-old male, with a 43-year-old
spouse, who anticipates retiring at age 65. Should he opt
for a single life pension, his pension income is projected
to be $3,200. Should he opt for a joint-life pension, he has
been told his income will be $2,637.1
& Survivor pension
the use of life insurance, the pension maximization strategy
can allow you to opt for the significantly higher pension
income that comes with a single life pension and provide you
with peace of mind knowing your spouse will be taken care
of in the event of your death.
effectiveness of the strategy depends on several things, including
the cost of the life insurance, the investment return needed
to produce the survivors pension and the availability
of indexed benefits through the company pension plan.
us today to learn more about your pension plan, the options
its expected to provide you upon retirement and maximizing
The projected pension figures provided are for illustration
G. KONRAD CFP
(204) 489-4640 ext. 246
100-1345 WAVERLEY STREET
WINNIPEG, MB R3T 5Y6
specifically written and published by Investors Group is presented
as a general source of information only, and is not intended
as a solicitation to buy or sell specific investments, nor
is it intended to provide legal advice. Prospective investors
should review the annual report, simplified prospectus, and
annual information form of any fund carefully before making
an investment decision. Clients should discuss their situation
with their Consultant for advice based on their specific circumstances.
Commissions, trailing commissions, management fees and expenses
all may be associated with mutual fund investments. Mutual
funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and
past performance may not be repeated. Insurance products and
services offered through I.G. Insurance Services Inc. (in
Quebec, a financial services firm). Insurance license sponsored
by The Great-West Life Assurance Company (outside of Quebec).
Brokerage services offered through Investors Group Securities
owned by IGM Financial Inc. and licensed to its subsidiary
your cake and eat it too ©2007 Investors Group
more in the June
14 - July 11/2011 issue of Senior Scope)
stray who kept getting named
Willian J. Thomas
So Im on
the book tour with Margaret Trudeau driving in a separate
car headed for Jordan, Ontario when I spot this dog.
Still feisty and
beautiful as well as a dog lover, Margaret has written a wonderful
memoir titled Changing My Mind. Having spent 50 years of her
life suffering from a mental illness she did not know she
had, the younger half of our Camelot couple, Maggie and Pierre,
explains her failures and fesses up to scandals that had us
all shaking our heads in disbelief during the heady, hippy
days of the 70s. With photos that transport you to a
better and simpler time in Canada, Changing My Mind is a remorseful
and brutally honest bipolar romp from sex, drugs and rock
'n' roll to todays caring grandmother who once again
gets to say: I love you Pierre.
I introduced Margaret
at three Niagara readings and when I used the word tell-all
to describe her biography; she scolded me when she got to
It is not
a tell-all. I kept some personal things to myself.
And I thought,
good God woman, you have more secrets than whats in
this book!!! Its like Ive been living in an ashram
in Carnduff, Saskatchewan all my life!
Oh yeah, the dog.
She was a big-headed Bernese Mountain dog on the run along
a busy two-lane highway near Vineland. I blocked her path
to the road with my car and scared her down a dirt road with
my horn and then set off after her on foot. Two soakers later
and with mud on my knees I finally got a hand on her collar.
Into the front
seat she went, almost willingly, this beautiful black and
white and orange creature with big brown eyes. She stunk to
high heaven of barn and farm; her ribs showed through a thin,
dank coat; she had been neglected, maybe abandoned and likely
I took her home.
And within an hour by somehow springing the latch of a door
even I have trouble opening, Margaret, the dog not the author,
was on tour once more.
My buddy John Grant
and I drove the surroundings of Sunset Bay in a grid pattern
and found neither the dog nor anyone whod seen her.
The next day I
began calling local Humane Societies to see if shed
been picked up but nothing. After three days I was sure I
cost her her life because shed have to cross Highway
#3 and other dangerous thoroughfares to get back to where
I found her. So I began calling the city works department
who pick up dead dogs. On the fourth day after the coldest
night in November, Margaret was found at Fay Farms on Barrick
Road, maybe four miles from my house.
I visited her at
the Port Colborne dog pound roasted bones for
everybody and she was quite depressed.
From there she
was transferred to the Welland Humane Society where I walked
her every couple of days and by now her name was Berner.
Understaffed and overworked, the Welland Humane Society not
only took exceptional care of this dog, they arranged and
paid for the surgery that removed two tumors in her mouth.
After a short stint
with Lynn Whitley who owns Lynns Pet Shop in Welland
and has Bernese dogs, Heather by now this
dog had more names than the Great Imposter was sent
to the homestead of Nancy Misener and Kevin Rowlings to recover
from her surgery and busy schedule.
A lot of this was
facilitated by Barb Gowan of the Bernese Mountain Dog Club
of Ontario who fortunately did not rename her.
It was December
23rd by the time Nancy Misener began fostering Margaret Berner
Heather in her home feeding her spoonfuls of soup. The dog
was thin and woozy with no winter coat, shy and tentative
but still with a sweetness that was irresistible. She began
eating regular meals and found a warm spot in the kitchen
she fancied. Thats where her sleeping bag went. She
was not house trained but learned, in short order, about the
great fenced-in outdoors.
It was Christmas
so and I hope youre sitting down for this one
the name Ivy seemed appropriate.
As Ivy got healthy
and strong and showed more affection, she befriended Nancys
other two dogs, Django and Jorja. In keeping with my theory
but not ever actually having heard of it A true
pet lover is one sick puppy. Nancy and Kevin
are no longer Ivys foster parents. Ivy is now officially
a key component of what they call their family pack.
She sleeps on the bedroom floor.
By my calculations
it only took this handsome and homeless waif 37 days to get
from the front seat of my car to the foot of their bed
and into everyones heart.
Nancy Misener wrote
a report for the Welland Humane Societys newsletter
about the trials and tribulations of Ivy in which I am referred
to as the concerned citizen. Not something I can
put on my resume but Ill take it.
of writing Ivys memoir for her along the lines of Margaret
Trudeaus Changing My Mind. Title? What else but
Mind by Margaret Berner Heather Ivy Misener.
concerned citizen now has visitation rights Sundays
at Silver Bay with whats her name.
For comments, ideas
copies of The True Story
of Wainfleet, go to